Top 20 Trends for 2020 Digital Marketing: Part 2

The digital marketing landscape is always changing. Here’s what your focus as a Toledo-area business should be in 2020 and beyond.

Nearly 80 years ago, the first American TV ad aired. And though it was a simple little thing — $9 for 10 seconds about Bulova watches — it was revolutionary. A company could share an audio-visual message to a large number of people all at once.

Fifty years later, internet marketing was born. And since then, marketing has changed exponentially. Try comparing 5 years ago to today. The digital landscape experiences seismic shifts daily, it seems.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re on the path to marketing success this upcoming year. Check out the second half of our list of the top 20 digital marketing trends for 2020. (See the first half here.)

11. Zero-Click Searches Level the Playing Field

If you did a Google search 15 years ago, most links on the search engine results page (SERP) would take you off Google and onto other websites. That’s because Google’s goal was to point you to where you could find the answer to your problem.

Now, Google’s goal is to give you the answer to your problem — right on the SERP. They want to provide the solution without you needing to click through to another website.

This is because Google has become much more sophisticated. More than ever, it understands users’ search intent — why they’re searching that keyword or phrase. And a lot of the time, users are looking for immediate answers to problems, especially on mobile devices.

Common ways people use Google today:

  • Like a database, looking for factual information such as names of people and products, dates, math solutions, etc.
  • Like a dictionary, looking for definitions of words or terms
  • Like a map or directory, looking for types of places near them, as well as directions to those places, or even reviews

By providing that information right on the results page, Google has created the zero-click search, eliminating the need for you to click through to another site to get the pertinent information in lots of cases.

Now, one-third of desktop searches are zero-click. And nearly two-thirds of mobile users never click through to another site on a results page. And those numbers are only going up.

So it’s becoming even harder as a business to show up at the top of results, since most of the real estate is taken up by:

  • Paid ads
  • Image and video results
  • Rich snippets, or additional visual elements connected to results
  • Knowledge graphs – data within boxes or panels
  • And more new features every day

Needless to say, ranking and visibility are even greater challenges.

But it isn’t the end of search engine optimization (SEO), the way businesses are found and presented on Google. It just means you have to adapt.

Working with SEO professionals in Toledo will help you make sure you’re doing what you can to play nice with Google. But the easiest thing you can do — and the first thing you should do — is to make sure your information is accurate and up to date on your site, and that you’re continuing to provide relevant, quality content on your site, or you will lose out.

12. Audience Micro-Segmentation

Let’s think back to that first TV ad example: An ad for watches goes out to potentially thousands tuning into the game on television.

Basically, Bulova was trying to capitalize on reaching a mass audience during prime time. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to guess that their target market was probably adult men who had enough money and the right kind of income to value a high-quality timepiece. The type of person, broadly speaking, who would be watching a ballgame on TV.

But beyond mass advertising to their target audience, Bulova had no way to personalize their message — or to track what steps ad viewers took, if any.

That’s not to say TV advertising hasn’t been, or can’t be, successful. As recent as 2018, 78% of households still watch traditional satellite or cable TV.

But traditional TV viewing is on a steady decline, thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and the like. And close to 50% of Gen X and Millennials don’t ever watch traditional TV — not to mention that they’re more likely to pull out their phones during commercial breaks.

Serve your audience better with segmentation.

In 2019, digital ad spend surpassed traditional TV ad spend, and it will only continue to dominate. Why? Because it’s cheaper, more agile and more engaging. And it’s all about segmentation.

Today, how to target your audience has gotten all kinds of sophisticated.

With automation tools and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, you can track each individual user’s trip down your sales funnel, providing them with targeted content at the right moment to help move them to the next level.

Things like drip campaigns, Facebook advertising and automated chatbots allow you to control the pace and targeted nature of content better than ever before.

So ask yourself how you can better serve your customers by segmenting your audience.

13. Social Media Becoming Pay-to-Play

Nearly two decades ago, Facebook started as basically a photo directory for Harvard students. My, how things have changed since then.

“If it’s free, you’re the product.”

One social-media rule of thumb to remember is “If it’s free, you’re the product.” Let’s break that down.

Who is Facebook free for? Users. 1 billion users, to be precise. Anyone can sign up and make a profile, liking pages and posts, tagging locations and sharing other personal information with their friends.

Early on, businesses saw the massive potential reach and created business accounts to connect with all these prospective customers. People freely submitting their data, revealing their needs and wants as consumers, making hyper-targeting a cinch for businesses? It was almost too good to be true.

Facebook saw massive potential, too — which is why they slowly began reducing organic reach for posts, how many people you can reach with a post without paying money. Recent research suggests it’s as low as 2% for some businesses. Yikes.

So what does this mean for businesses using Facebook?

If users are the product, businesses are the customers. In other words, the reality for businesses on Facebook is that the more you pay, the more you get — the further your reach. (This is also true for all other social media platforms, by the way.)

Boosting posts and creating Facebook ads are the two main ways you can extend your reach. So if you’re using Facebook for business (e.g., a lead generation tool), you should factor in a budget for paid advertising. And it doesn’t have to be a lot.

But keep in mind that Facebook continues to tweak the system. At the end of last year, they announced a host of additional changes to business pages and advertising, which will further impact your social media efforts in 2020 and beyond.

“The reality for businesses on Facebook is that the more you pay, the further your reach.”

Chief among those changes Facebook has made? Organic traffic for posts has been further reduced for business pages, and traffic gates will ensure that only the highest performing posts get seen by more than your core audience.

It has never been harder to use Facebook to advertise your business and find new customers without putting money into paid advertising.

But now, more than ever, digital advertising experts can help your small business or your local business succeed on social media with smart online marketing strategies.

14. The User-Experience Experience

Most businesses understand nowadays the importance of having your own website. It’s your home turf. You can make it as customized as you want — no reliance on middlemen or third parties.

And of course it should look amazing. Who doesn’t want to be portrayed in the best light?

But having a pretty website can only get you so far. Once users realize they can’t find the answer they’re looking for, they’re exiting your site. And chances are, they won’t be coming back.

So should you invest in the visual appeal of your site? Definitely. But additionally you should also ensure your website has:

  • Clean, logical architecture
  • Easy, mobile-friendly navigation
  • A content structure that makes sense

Users are trying to solve their problem. How you deliver the solution matters just as much as what the solution is.

By now, you should be familiar with SEO, or search engine optimization. It’s what you do to make your site available to search engines so that people can find you.

When a team of digital marketing experts optimizes your site, they’re doing it for the users. Users input search terms on a search engine (Google’s the most popular by far), hoping someone offers a solution.

If you’ve got the solution — and target those same keywords the users used — then you should be appearing in their search results. The better your site is optimized, the higher you rank.

If the users click on your link on the search engine results page (SERP), they’re stepping onto your home turf. Is it optimized for a rewarding experience?

That’s called designing for user experience, or UX for short.

So not only does Google crawl your website, but also they index your site based on its overall ease of navigability and user-friendliness.

If you’re considering redoing your website, make sure to think about the user journey. How will your audience experience your site? Will they easily find the solutions to the problems they have?

Also make sure to find web designers in Toledo who can design beautifully and understand the uniqueness of your business and your business’s users.

If your designers prioritize form over function, they’ll be penalized by Google before the site even launches. And that means your site won’t perform as well.

Visuals are important. No doubt there. But do not sacrifice user experience just to look pretty.

15. Paying More for the Same Clicks

There are over 4 billion internet users as of January 2020, with close to 2 billion websites currently online.

And like all things digital, it’s only going to grow bigger.

So it makes sense that, as more players enter the digital advertising realm, the cost of doing business also goes up.

Take Google ads, for example. There’s been a steady increase in cost-per-click (CPC) as well as the average pay-per-click bid.

Increased competition is not inherently bad — it’s just the price of doing business in the ever-shifting landscape of advertising.

However, it does mean that you need to be smarter about ad spend.

If you’re going to pay for clicks, make sure you utilize other tools, like a chat function or retargeting ads, to get the most out of those clicks.

Well-crafted ads will:

  • Build awareness: You want to target the right keywords so your audience associates your brand with the solution to their problem.
  • Drive traffic: For the 33% of searchers who will click through an ad, you want a landing page that captivates by making it clear that what you offer solves the problem.

It is critical to keep the clicks you pay for in your sales funnel longer, increasing the conversion rate and helping keep your CPC in check.

16. Go for a Daily Vlog

You hear everyone saying it: Video content is in and it’s here to stay.

But it’s important to understand how you as a small business can make video a part of your marketing strategy. We’re not talking expensive TV ads. We’re not even talking heavily produced content.

Vlogging, short for video blogging, is as simple as can be — and super effective.

That’s why we’ve seen its rise in popularity, both among advertisers and consumers.

Vlogs are engaging, easy to consume and extra simple to make.

Vlogging is also a great way to build a brand over time, without having to cram things in all at once in a 60-second spot.

You can be informal and conversational — authentic — and win people over to your larger vision.

If you want to put your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness front and center, turn the camera toward yourself and connect directly with your audience. No fancy equipment necessary!

17. Loyalty Isn’t Just Transactional

A loyalty program can be so much more than just keeping a tally of how many purchases until the customer’s next discount.

Responsibly using customers’ data must include privacy, but it can also include personalizing your services to be even better for customers.

Keeping track of spending patterns and habits allows you to offer targeted content and promotions based on what consumers want most.

Loyalty Marketing for Small Businesses

With increasing competition, even as a local business, you can stand out of the crowd and be indispensable to consumers by giving them a reason to give you loyalty.

Here are just a few ideas to help you stay connected with customers through loyalty marketing:

  • Incentivize customers with a gift for their feedback in a survey. You learn more about them so you can serve them better, while they receive a gift.
  • On their birthday or anniversary of signing up, send a perk to let your customers know you appreciate them and their continued business — a great way to build your email list, too.
  • Limited-time in-store giveaways are an excellent way to get customers back in the door.

18. Focus on Communities, Not Just on Consumers

As Facebook has decreased the organic reach of posts, it has become significantly hard to get your message in front of even your top fans and existing audience base.

Consider leaning on Facebook communities and private groups as a way to ensure that the people who care most about your brand are seeing it.

General posting has as low as 1–1.5% organic reach, but in groups that number can be over 6X higher.

Plus, your groups get the added benefit of feeling exclusive. If you consistently offer value to those in your group, you’ll have a much more engaged audience — and the more engaged they are, the more likely they’ll take advantage of your services or products.

19. Go Live or Go Home

Organic reach is way, way down. Posts with an image and caption aren’t getting engagement like they used to, either.

What kind of content can you push on social media that is “thumb-stopping?”

Facebook Live video.

We’ve already talked about how video posts have greater reach than simply text or photo ones. But going one step further into live video can give you nearly twice the reach a produced video can get you.

That’s because live-streaming videos are much more interesting than traditional ones. Users are much more likely to watch something actually happening than they are to watch traditional video content that is most likely overproduced.

Authenticity and transparency are everything for business in 2020.

A Few Tips for Going Live

  • Do regular broadcasts. If you schedule going live, more people will be prepared to show up. And the more you do it, the more likely people will catch one of your broadcasts.
  • Go long. If you hop off as quickly as you hop on, how will people have time to engage with you? Give people time to show up, and give them a reason to stay. You can always experiment with length, so try 10 minutes, 30 minutes or longer — whatever works for your audience.
  • Extend your reach. Statistically, people watch live videos longer than traditional ones. And Facebook recently announced a push for more graphic and video-based content on posts, which suggests that Live posts will receive additional organic reach just for being premium content for their users.

And remember: You can reuse live videos, whether you download them and reupload them to YouTube, or reshare them on Facebook (an added bonus is that they’ll retain their comments and likes this way!).

If you want to increase your presence and organic reach on Facebook, you cannot ignore the power of Facebook Live.

It’s time to start experimenting with it. Need more tips for going live? Ask us first.

20. Gen Z Has Arrived

It’s the circle of life. New generations come along, and before you know it, they’re entering the job market and consumer markets en masse.

And now more than ever, it’s crucial that businesses pay attention to new audiences because the latest one spilling into “the real world” is extremely marketing-savvy. Gen Z, those born between the mid 1990s and the mid 2010s, grew up in the internet age. To them, there really isn’t an online/offline distinction.

Recent reports indicate that Gen Z could make up over a third of the total consumer population by the end of 2020. That’s a ton of potential for a number of businesses, but also quite a challenge, since they speak their own language and respond to appeals that are very different from what Millennials and Boomers are used to.

  • More humor
  • Less overt, sales-y promotion
  • Appreciation of authenticity, flaws and all

If you don’t understand this base, consider reaching out or hiring digital marketing professionals who do. It’ll go a long way with this savvy consumer base if you acknowledge them and serve their needs.

Get the Right Marketing Team on Your Side

Marketing on your own as a local small to midsize business is increasingly difficult. But with the help of a qualified team of experts in digital marketing and advertising — like we’ve got here at Mass Media Designs — you’ll have less stress and more time to focus on your customers.

Give us a call at (419) 605-0202, or message us here, to get on track for an even better 2020.